Provided by U.S. Navy Office of Community Outreach
A 2009 Freedom High School graduate and Woodbridge native is aiding the U.S. Navy’s silent service in the submarine community as part of a hybrid crew of Sailors and civilian mariners working aboard the expeditionary submarine tender USS Emory S. Land.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Almira Rose Rivera is a logistics specialist serving aboard the Guam-based submarine tender, one of two submarine tenders in the U.S. Navy, conducting coordinated tended moorings and afloat maintenance in the Pacific Ocean as well as the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean.
A Navy logistics specialist is responsible for ordering, receiving, inspecting, stowing, preserving, packaging, shipping, and issuing materials and cargo. They also supervise, organize and establish or disestablish Navy post offices and perform postal counterwork, including sale of stamps and money orders.
“Growing up in Virginia, I’ve always been around military people,” said Rivera. “I learned different values from them. I saw the discipline, which made my transition from civilian to military pretty easy.”
With a crew of 42 officers and 600 enlisted, submarine tenders are 649 feet long and weigh approximately 23,493 tons. Their mission is to provide maintenance, repairs, hotel services, weapons reload and logistics support to deployed guided-missile and fast-attack submarines. Both of the U.S. Navy’s submarine tenders are homeported in Apra Harbor, Guam, and rotate between deployment to support the forward-operating in the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility and in port in Guam to support in-port and visiting units.
“I’m originally from the Philippines,” said Rivera. “I haven’t been back there in 10 years, but Guam kind of reminds me of a mix between the Philippines and the states. That’s what I like most about Guam.”
Submarine tenders are additionally capable of providing repair and logistic services to deployed surface ships.
“I am impressed every day by the caliber of the Sailors who serve aboard our ship,” said Capt. Douglas Bradley, commanding officer of USS Emory S. Land. “Our hardworking crew completes an immense amount of work daily aboard this ship. The multitude of different skills and responsibilities is remarkable: submarine and surface ship repair, weapons handling, supply, medical, dental, and more. I am extremely honored to lead and serve this immensely talented and dedicated crew.”
“I’m the first one in my family to join the military,” said Rivera. “I joined the military because I was going to college and had a full time job and still couldn’t afford tuition. The Navy has allowed me to go school while serving. Since I’ve been in the military, I’ve completed my associate’s degree and I’m working on my bachelor’s. The military has been great at giving me the opportunity to do that.”
The integrated crew of Sailors and civilian mariners builds a strong fellowship while working alongside each other, Rivera explained. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.
“Serving in the Navy has made me more aware of what I do just by wearing the uniform,” added Rivera. “I want to be what people expect of a responsible person in uniform. I try my best to live up to those expectations. That’s what has made me a better person.”
Guam is home to the U.S. Navy’s only submarine tenders, USS Emory S. Land and USS Frank Cable, as well as four Los Angeles-class attack submarines. The submarine tenders provide maintenance, hotel services and logistical support to submarines and surface ships in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation. The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.